Whomever who hasn't been moved by this young girl after reading her diary is a hard person to reach indeed.
The story of Anne Frank is that of a young Jewish girl in WW2 Europe. To escape the Nazis, she and her family moved from Frankfurt to Holland, and then went into hiding in a small building where she lived with seven others for more than two years. At the age of fifteen, she was found by the Nazis, deported to a concentration camp, and died from typhus. Among the eight who were in hiding, only her father Otto Frank survived. Her diary, which she had kept since before she went into hiding, was later published by her father, and has been read by millions.
Reading the diary is remarkable for its record of Anne's growth as a person. Normally, people keep their thoughts to themselves, or share it with their most trusted friends. In Anne's case, she decided to commit her thoughts and feelings to paper, with no intention of showing the diary to anyone - and as a result, we do need to guess at what she says, nor imagine what she may have hidden from view - Anne pours out her heart and soul, and this makes the diary a work of honesty and pureness that far surpasses the profit-driven writing of many authors today.
Anne's self-honesty takes its toll on her, she never avoids thinking about something even though it may be painful. It is easy to dismiss an unpleasant idea - we've all faced times when, confronted by the truth, we simply say to ourselves "ah, forget it!", rather than admitting our mistakes. Sometimes, we do it to the extent that we believe our own lies. Anne at times appears to do this, but does in fact know what she has done, and does her best to correct it. We therefore do not only see a person who knows who she is, but also her transformation from an adolescent girl into a young woman - all the more tragic when we already know what happens at the end. Anne never grew to be the lady she was trying so hard to be.
Every other writer is aware of the invisible audience who reads their work, and therefore is careful to pick out a path which they want the reader to walk with them. The distinction between what a person thinks and what they want the audience to see is not a very important one if one records an event or a poem, but when the topic is about the self it is fundamentally different. What one sees in Anne is not the exterior, superficial personality that she puts on for others, but the deep, inner personality that she hides from everyone save her diary.
My friends know that my appetite has never wavered, even when I witnessed open-heart surgery and when I dissected a body. The one time I completely lost my appetite for food was after I visited the Anne Frank House, and saw where this young girl had lived, and where her fate was sealed when the SS came for her.
I don't think I can put into words the sadness I felt, but it was magnified by two things: the fact that six million other Jews were purged during the holocaust, and that people are still subject to the terrible persecution that was visited upon these people, along with seventy million others who died throughout the Second World War.
The world has received enough messages about the brutality of war. We pledge to each other, "the tragedy which befell Anne Frank must never be allowed to happen again." Why, then, are we still killing each other?